What is a weighted pull up?
The weighted pull-up is a compound calisthenics exercise in which you add extra weight to the pull-up to increase intensity. By incorporating additional resistance, whether through a weight vest or a dipping belt, you intensify the challenge and maximize your gains. This versatile exercise can be executed on rings or the traditional pull-up bar, offering flexibility in your workout routine.
For those who aren’t quite ready to introduce extra weight to their pull-ups, delve into our comprehensive bodyweight pull-ups blog for essential tips and techniques. It’s the perfect starting point to build the foundation for your calisthenics journey.
When / why to start training weighted pull ups
Deciding when to start adding weight to your pull-ups depends on your individual fitness level and goals. Here are a few guidelines to help you determine the right time:
Master the basics: Before adding weight, ensure you have a solid foundation in bodyweight pull-ups. Focus on proper form and build enough strength to perform a reasonable number of reps comfortably.
Plateaued progress: If you find that your bodyweight pull-ups have plateaued, meaning you’re not experiencing significant strength gains or increased reps, introducing weighted pull ups can stimulate new muscle growth and strength development.
Training goals: If your goal is to increase overall strength and muscle mass, incorporating weighted pull-ups can be an effective strategy. Also if your goal is to do heavy pulling exercises like the front lever or the one arm pull up, then a strong weighted pull up will help you out a lot.
Pull up technique
Before you start adding weight to your pull-ups, you need to have a solid bodyweight pull up. Down below you’ll find the most important technique cues to focus on.
Forearms stay vertical
Perhaps the most common mistake during pull-ups is the horizontal movement of the forearms.
Many athletes close their pull-up by pushing their chin forward while pulling their elbows backward in the top position. Although this technique lifts your chin above the bar, it’s not an ideal posture.
Pulling your elbows backward in this manner increases pressure on your elbows, logically raising the risk of injuries, especially when intensifying the workout with added weight.
How to progress with Weighted pull ups
Weight vest or dipping belt?
Weighted pull ups with belt
When you’re training to become as strong or muscular as possible, a dipping belt, also known as a pull-up belt, is your best option. With this belt worn around your waist, adding weight becomes a breeze. The belt consists of a wide strap around your waist, three carabiners, and a chain or rope to attach the weight.
When training weighted pull-ups with a pull-up belt, you enjoy several advantages over a weight vest.
You can attach significantly more weight, as pull-up belts can handle loads of up to 1000kg, whereas weight vests usually max out around 30kg.
Moreover, you can hang the weight beneath you, a significant advantage for shoulder mobility during pull-ups. A weight vest may impede movement, whereas a belt won’t pose such issues.
Weighted pull ups with a weight vest
If your workouts are focused on muscle conditioning, for example, by combining high reps and sets of pull-ups, dips, and push-ups, then a weight vest is the best choice for you.
With such a vest, you can easily add 1 to 20kg to your workout. Typically, these weight vests are filled with pouches of 1kg each, allowing you to adjust the weight easily.
Additionally, a weight vest is more cost-effective since the weights are included in the purchase price. With a weight belt, you would need to buy the weights separately
Street lifting, the sport where weighted calisthenics exercises are performed, is on a global rise. All around the world competitions are being organized.
This calisthenics variation of powerlifting follows a competition format in the 1rm (one-rep max) for weighted dips, weighted pull-ups, weighted squats, and the weighted muscle-up. So, if you believe you have a powerful weighted pull-up, don’t hesitate to participate in such a competition.
Training at home material
What do you need to train weighted pull-ups? Naturally, a dipping belt, vest, or a weight vest and a pull-up bar. For a pull up bar you have 3 options:
– Doorway pull up bar
– Wall mounted pull up bar
– Dip / Pull up station
Additionally, it can be beneficial to use wrist wraps to support your wrists. To enhance your grip, you can also use liquid chalk.